It’s that much anticipated time of the year again when Lake Kariba goes tiger fish crazy! From the 30th, 31st October and 1st November 2019 this year, keen anglers from all over the world will come to Lake Kariba to participate in the Kariba Invitation Tiger Fish Tournament – a very well run and regarded sports fishing competition.

Here are 10 facts and figures about it:

1. In 2019 it will be the 58th edition of Kariba Invitation Tiger Fish Tournament, which first started in 1962 by the Rhodesian National Anglers Union. It took place in June 1962, with 142 fishermen participating.

2. The largest number of teams recorded in the Kariba Invitation Tiger Fish Tournament was 333 in 1991.

3. It is the largest single-species four-man Fresh Water Fishing tournament in the world

4. The tournament is normally held in October when the weather is warmer, and during the part of the month when there is a new moon.

5. Several species belonging to the genus Hydrocynus of the family Alestidae are referred to as “tigerfish”, and are particularly prized as game fish. The biggest is the goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) is among the most famous tigerfish – the largest one on record is said to have weighed 70 kg (154 pounds from the Congo river. Our own local species is simply known as the tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus. From an angling point of view, only in the last few years has our local strain been recognised by IGFA (International Game Fish Association).

Some highlights from the 2018 tournament

6. The biggest tiger fish ever caught in this competition weighed more than 12.735 kilograms, and the 2009 record holder, Martinhus Van Rensburg – pictured here on the right.

7. According to the IGFA, the current world record tiger fish was landed by Jennifer Daynes in Lake Kariba (outside of this tournament) in 2001 and weighed in at 16,193 kilograms.

8. For the tournament, only Tiger fish ie “Hydrocynus Vittatus” of a mass of 1kg or more are eligible. There is a “bag” limit of 20 fish per team per day, for each team. No more than the limit may be brought to the weigh bay enclosure. One point per kilogram will be awarded for the actual weight of the fish to the nearest 5 grams.

9. Teams are allowed 2 boats in the tournament, but there must be a minimum of 2 anglers per boat. A competing boat may not fish within 100 metres of another boat without an invitation. Fishing on the 3 days runs strictly from 6am, and you need to bring your fish to be weighed at 4.30pm on the dot.

10. Boats are not allowed to reserve spots! Many anglers spent months testing out the best “spots” in the lake, whilst trying to keep these locations a secret and there is usually fierce competition on the day to get to these positions first.

Good luck to all the 2019 fishers – keep your lines tight and strike it big!

KIFT winner Martinhus Van Rensburg with tiger fish